The day after Georgia announced that star guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was entering the NBA draft, it offered a scholarship Tuesday to an under-the-radar player from Mississippi.
Kenny Paul Geno, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound small forward from Booneville, Miss., told Georgia coach Mark Fox and assistant Philip Pearson this morning that he wanted to be a Bulldog.
Geno will hold a news conference for local media at 10 a.m. CT Thursday, but he said he sent in his letter of intent today to Georgia on the first day of the spring signing period.
Geno averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds per game this past season in leading Booneville High to its third Class 3A state title game, according to his coach, but doesn’t show up on the database for recruits by Scout.com or ESPN.com.
“He reminds you of those Florida Gulf Coast kids that just play the game with passion and people just love to watch them,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “When he leaves there, people aren’t going to say who was that kid?”
Geno had offers from Middle Tennessee State, Troy, Mercer and Radford and rebuffed an offer during the early signing period from Arkansas State.
Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Florida Gulf Coast, which reached the Sweet 16, were among schools showing interest this spring. Smith thinks Geno got overlooked because he played in the Northeast corner of the state.
“He does a lot of things fairly well,” Smith said. “He shoots it well. He’s an extremely good leaper. He’ll dunk on you. He knows how to play. He’s blue collar, took over 40 charges….An unbelievable character kid.”
Geno visited Georgia earlier this month.
“I felt like I got close to the coaches,” he said. “They’re already like family to me.”
Geno says he doesn’t “know for sure,” if he would have had a chance to play for Georgia if Caldwell-Pope stuck around, but he’s happy to have the chance to play at Georgia for Fox.
“This year I’m going to learn the 3 spot (small forward) and he thinks I can play 1 through 4 (point guard through power forward),” Geno said.
He’s the third member of the 2013 Georgia recruiting class, joining shooting guard Juwan Paker from Tulsa, Okla., and point guard J.J. Frazier from Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Georgia.
Georgia still has one scholarship remaining. The spring signing period runs through May 15.